Milton Blake is a beloved and long-time resident of the Southlake community. He and his late wife, Beverly Blake, relocated to Southlake 15 years ago from Chicago to live near his daughter, Robin Cornish and her late husband Frank Cornish.
Blake and his wife were both active members in the community. She served as the Senior Advisor Commission chair while he actively participates in the Mayor’s Alliance for Unity and Culture.
Before he and his family decided to make Southlake home, Blake was a very active member of the military. He served 32 years in the U.S. Army.
Blake always knew he was destined to serve. When he was a young boy, he participated in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. As a teenager, he participated in JROTC and eventually became commander of his high school unit.
After high school, Blake attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He graduated in 1957, which is the same year he was drafted to the U.S. Army.
He attended basic training in Colorado at Fort Carson and was quickly promoted to trainee leader for his platoon.
He was later transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where he worked in construction drafting, which included weapon plans. While he was there, Blake was recommended to participate in a post soldier competition, a contest where the top performers compete against other units. Blake won.
Not to long after his victory, Blake enrolled into cadet school at Fort Benning, Georgia and graduated as second lieutenant in 1959.
Following graduation, he transferred to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri where he continued to train troops for six months.
His expertise in training others led him to working for the Army’s training division.
Blake traveled to various states to train troops for the remainder of his career. He moved through the ranks as company commander, battalion executive officer, battalion commander and concluded his career in the G-2 (intelligence) unit. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.
After retirement, Blake returned to his childhood roots in Chicago and worked for the Reserve Office Association where he presented awards to high performing JROTC units at local high schools.
As things started to slow down, Blake and his wife, decided to make Southlake their second home for years to come. Blake lost his wife in August 2019. They were married 59 years. They have two children together, daughter Robin Cornish, and late son Milton Blake Jr., as well as five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Blake summed up what Veterans Day means to him in just a few words.
“It’s a celebration of patriotism and celebration of veterans and armed forces, he said. “Today they are honored for their services.”
If you happen to see Blake, be sure to thank him for his service.
Honor. Courage. Commitment.
Before becoming the director of Public Works for the City of Southlake in 2016, Robert Cohen dedicated 20 years of service to the United States Navy – and brought its core values with him to serve Southlake.
Cohen has delivered services across the globe and continues to foster a culture of superior performance, customer service, accountability, and integrity with the 69 employees under his direction in Public Works.
“Having a career in Southlake means that I get to work alongside passionate professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving Southlake. I am truly honored and humbled to have the opportunity and privilege to work with, for and alongside dedicated teams of true professionals who bring their best to Southlake every day; at every event, for every reason and in any season,” stated Cohen.
Patriotism has laid the foundation for Cohen’s path to military service. Having grown up in a community near several major military installations and a military family, Cohen knew he wanted to become part of what he believed was a very elite organization comprised of disciplined individuals protecting freedom and democracy.
Cohen was commissioned in the Navy upon his college graduation and went on to hold roles in public works, program, asset and facilities management, and capital improvements within the Navy while achieving the rank of commander. He also obtained his professional engineer’s license, became a trained financial specialist, and was a member of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Acquisition Corps and a Certified DoD Level II Facility Engineer.
With military experiences as diverse as the positions he has held, a few notable examples include his accountability for a multi-million dollar global energy program, a sweeping shore installation reorganization that integrated 130+ full-time employees from three separate organizations, and resolution of an overseas drinking water treatment issue that ended up saving the Navy $4 million. Cohen also received a Letter of Commendation from the Navy’s senior legal service admiral for saving $200,000 associated with a courtroom renovation project.
Looking for more continuity and less change in his career, Cohen decided to step away from the military.
“I saw many commonalities between serving in the Navy and pursuing a municipal career. I felt that the transition would be somewhat easier if my new career would be similar to what I gravitated toward while in the military, such as public works, said Cohen. “I am a servant leader and wanted to serve a population in the many facets of public works, but on a much smaller scale. I enjoy serving people and if at all possible, working alongside others for a common cause.”
Now, as the director of Public Works for the City of Southlake, Cohen continues to use his extensive military experiences to deliver municipal services. He leads a department that provides public services through planning, engineering, constructing, inspecting, operating, and maintaining Southlake’s public infrastructure. At the helm of a department that manages a $40 million capital improvement program, he guides the oversight of numerous contracts for services as well as inter-local agreements and ensures the department’s responsibility for the environmental protection of the City’s creeks and streams.
“Leading a department responsible for mobility, construction, water, and sewer in the City can be stressful at times, but I imagine Rob’s rigorous military training is the reason why he has been able to stay calm and set priorities to accomplish big results,” said Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher.
Cohen is one of 35 military veterans employed by the City of Southlake. Veterans Day serves as a humble reminder to recognize and celebrate the brave men and women who have served our country.
“With more than 30 military veterans on our team, we fully appreciate the value they bring to Southlake,” stated City Manager Shana Yelverton. One of the best things about working with Rob and all of our veterans is their willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.”
At the Tuesday November 1st, 2016 City Council meeting, Mayor Laura Hill honored our servicemen and servicewomen with the proclamation below.
November 11th has long held a cherished place in the heart of every American. From the inauguration of this treasured holiday in 1918, Americans have recognized the sacrifices made by our military. Known originally as Armistice Day (a day of peace), after WWI, President Wilson declared November 11th to be a day of reflection. President Eisenhower later issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation encompassing all military conflicts and acknowledging every military member who has served. He wrote, “…let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom,…let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
Whereas, since the humble beginnings of our independence; courageous Americans have stepped forward to protect this country, and promote our ideals. The liberty that we, as US citizens, enjoy comes at a price paid by these valiant men and women; and,
Whereas, we recognize the sacrifice of those who have served in defense of this nation and the loved ones who stand beside them, memorializing the heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice and all those who have not returned home; and,
Whereas, the City of Southlake has among its citizens, volunteers and employees, individuals who have served in the United States Armed Forces; and,
Whereas, we are reminded of our obligation to them; to serve our veterans as they have gallantly served us; and as we gather here today, let us not forget that freedom is never free, and our nation and our community is evermore indebted for their courageous service, now,
Therefore, I, Mayor Laura Hill, on behalf of the City Council, do hereby recognize November 11, 2016, as Veterans Day.
The Carroll Dragons honored America’s Military Heroes in grand fashion this Veterans Day. Nearly every campus hosted patriotic assemblies Monday, Nov. 11, with the exception of Walnut Grove Elementary School and Rockenbaugh Elementary School. Walnut Grove hosted their Veterans Day event Friday, Nov. 8 and Rockenbaugh will host their celebration on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Many of the elementary campuses included performances from third and fourth grade students. Highlights include student choirs and in a unique show of patriotism, students and Old Union showed off their fancy footwork with an athletic routine set to patriotic music.
Students in the middle grades were treated to various guest speakers, some included older veterans who spoke of the historical significance of the military. One Dragon parent, in active military spoke with students at Eubanks Intermediate and Dawson Middle School in separate assemblies via Skype. U.S. Navy Captain, Johnny Marshall is the father of Jake (EIS) and Zach (DMS) Marshall. Capt. Marshall spoke to students from his location in the Horn of Africa.
Carroll Senior High School and Carroll High School featured performances by the Dragon Band. CHS student Sophia Formella sang the National Anthem to begin the Veterans Day assembly. Student Chris Weisberg played Taps to a standing crowd, marking the end of the Veterans Day event at CSHS.
A photo slideshow of Veterans Day events across Carroll ISD is featured below.